The human papilloma virus (HPV) is a papillomavirus family virus that attacks the human skin and mucous membranes of the body such as the throat, mouth, feet, fingers, nails, anus and cervix.

There are over 100 different types, 40 of which can affect the genital area. Most HPV diseases do not cause symptoms in humans.

Some, however, can cause warts, while a small amount may increase the risk of developing cancer, for example in the cervix, penis, vagina, anus and oropharynx (oral part of the pharynx: throat cancer ).

According to recent studies, HPV infectionmay also increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. 
HPV subtypes 16 and 18 are known to cause almost all cases of cervical cancer, it also increases the risk of developing oropharyngeal (throat) cancer.

Most people recover from HPV infections without any consequences. 
It is not fully known because some people develop long-term infection, precancer abnormal cell changes or cancer by HPV. 
Women with diseases that weaken the immune system have a hard time fighting infections and are at higher risk for cervical cancer. 
Even smoking  increases the risk of cervical cancer.

How Many People Have Human Papilloma Virus?

Genital HPV is a most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. About 20 million Americans aged 15-49 have the human papilloma virus. 
And at least half of all sexually active men and women have the human genital papilloma virus in their life.

Who is at risk for human papillomavirus?

Everyone who has sex may have HPV. 
HPV is so common that almost all sexually active men and women get sick at some point in their life. This is true even for people who have a sexual relationship with only one person in the course of their life.

How do you get the human papilloma virus?

HPV is transmitted through the contact of the genitals, usually during vaginal or anal intercourse. HPV can also be transmitted during oral sex. 
The human papillomavirus can be transmitted between partners of the same genus (male or female), even when the infected person has no signs or symptoms. 
Many people with the human papilloma virus do not realize they are infected or have passed the HPV virus onto a sexual partner. 
A person can have HPV even if it’s been years since he or she has had sexual contact with an infected person. 
It is also possible to have more than one HPV subtype. 
In rare circumstances, a pregnant woman with genital human papillomavirus can pass HPV to the baby during delivery.

HPV can infect skin that is not covered by a condom, so using a condom is not fully protected against the virus.

 

Human Papillomavirus
Vaccines The human papillomavirus vaccine is made with a series of three injections in more than 6 months to protect against HPV infection and the health problems it can cause. 
Two vaccines (Cervarix and Gardasil) protect against cervical cancer in women. 
A vaccine (Gardasil) also protects against genital warts and cancer of the anus, vagina and vulva. 
Both vaccines are available for females. 
Gardasil is only available for men. 
HPV vaccines offer the best protection for girls and boys who receive all three doses of the vaccine and have time to develop an immune response before being sexually active with another person.
That is why HPV vaccination is not recommended for adolescents, boys and girls at the age of 11 or 12 years.

Who should take the HPV vaccine?

In addition to boys and girls ages 11 to 12, HPV vaccines are recommended for adolescents and young people who were not vaccinated when they were younger. 
The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men (or any man who has a sexual relationship with another man). It is also advisable for men and women with compromised immune systems (including people who have HIV / AIDS).

Symptoms of human papilloma virus

In most cases, the immune system will fight an HPV infection before it has a chance to create a wart. 
When the warts appear, they may vary in appearance, depending on the type of HPV involved:

Comm wart
Common warts appear as rough lumps or raised that commonly occur in the hands, fingers and around the nails. 
In most cases, common warts are simply a nuisance because of their appearance, but can also be painful or cause bleeding or injury.

Plantar Wart
The plantar wart has a hard, granular growth that usually appears on the heel or sole of the feet as these are areas that feel the greatest pressure. 
These warts can cause discomfort or pain.

Flat
wart The flat wart is high, slightly raised and darker than normal skin color. 
It usually appears on the face, neck, hands, wrists, elbows or knees. 
HPV infections that cause flat warts usually affect children, adolescents, and young adults.

Genital wart

Genital warts can appear as flat lesions, small formations that look like cauliflower or small protuberies like a stem. 
In women, the genital wart appears on the vulva more easily, but can also occur near the anus, cervix or vagina. 
In men, genital warts can appear on the penis, scrotum or around the anus. 
Genital warts rarely cause discomfort or pain.

Can high-risk HPV cause cancer?

The papilloma virus infects the epithelial cells. These cells are arranged in layers and cover the inner and outer surfaces of the body, including the skin, throat, genital tract and anus. 
Since HPV does not enter the bloodstream, an HPV infection in one part of the body should not cause an infection in another part of the body. 
Once HPV inserts an epithelial cell, the virus begins to produce viral DNA .

Two of HPV’s high-risk proteins allow the cell to replicate uncontrollably and prevent death. 
Often these infected cells are recognized by the immune system and eliminated. 
Sometimes, however, these infected cells are not destroyed and cause a persistent infection. 
As persistently infected cells continue to grow, you can develop more mutations that promote cell growth, leading to the formation of a high-grade lesion at the end of a tumor. 
Researchers believe it may take 10 to 20 years for an HPV infection to form before it forms a tumor. 
However, high-grade lesions do not always cause cancer.
The percentage of cervical lesions that become invasive cervical cancer are less than 50%.

Cancer of the cervix caused by the human papilloma virus

Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by two specific types of genital HPV. These two HPV viruses usually do not cause warts, so women often do not realize they are infected. 
Early stages of cervical cancer usually do not cause symptoms or signs. This is why it is important for a woman to make regular the preventive to detect precancerous changes in the cervix that can lead to cancer.

The high-risk human papilloma virus can cause changes in the cells that cover the cervix. 
These changes are known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. 
Not all women with this type of HPV develop the neoplasia. 
For many women, an HPV infection is temporary and cell changes return to normal over time. 
Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia is not a cancer, but in some women, if left untreated, one can develop the cancer after a number of years.

Head and neck tumors are more common in people who smoke , especially those who drink alcohol. 
Just as human papillomavirus affects other areas of the body, the virus can be dormant for many months or even years before they cause cell abnormalities in some people and it becomes cancer.

Treatment for cervical intraepithelial neoplasia is very effective and the risk of returning after treatment is low. 
Treatment usually depends on how severe the abnormal changes are.

Cellular abnormalities are classified into three stages.

  • At the beginning, you may not need any treatment, but it must be accompanied by your doctor.
  • The second and third stage can be treated with surgery, in which the affected area of ​​the cervix is ​​removed.
  • Abnormal cells can be removed with laser treatment and cryotherapy (freezing the area).

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia usually causes no symptoms.

The symptoms of cervical cancer are:

  •  Abnormal vaginal blood loss
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge.

These symptoms can also be caused by many other things, so it is important to make an appointment with a doctor.

Human papillomavirus and vulva or vagina cancer

Infection with high-risk human papilloma virus can cause cell changes in the vulvar area (female genitalia). 
The changes are known as vulvar intraepithelial neoplasia (NIV), or intra-epithelial vaginal neoplasia (NIVA). 
Not all those who have the human papilloma virus develop the NIV or NIVA. 
Intraepithelial neoplasia of the vulva is not cancer, but some women may develop vulvar cancer after many years. Intraepithelial neoplasia does not always lead to cancer, although it is believed that infection with the human papilloma virus causes more than half of all types of vulvar cancer. 
Cancer of the vulva or vagina is very rare. 
The treatment for these tumors depends on how serious the cellular changes are.

Some minor changes (stage 1) usually only need to be monitored by the doctor. 
Treatment may be necessary if cell changes are greater (Stage 2 or Stage 3). 
This usually involves removing the mass with surgery, laser treatment or diathermy (it is a therapy that uses an electric current to suppress the interested party).

The symptoms of vulvar cancer are:

  • Pain, discomfort and itching in the vulva
  • Small nodules or lumps on the vulva
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or leakage
  • A painful area or ulcer on the vulva.

The symptoms of vaginal cancer are:

  • Vaginal blood spots,
  • Pain and discomfort in the vaginal area,
  • Bleeding after intercourse,
  • Difficulty or pain when urinating .

These symptoms may be the same as other non-cancerous diseases, it is important to talk about any symptoms with the doctor.

Diagnosis of human papilloma virus

How can I tell if I have the high-risk human papillomavirus? 
Because HPV is a common infection that usually goes away on its own, often, you do not have to worry even if you are infected. 
Most people do not know when they were infected by the human papilloma virus.

How do we find out that there is human papilloma virus?

Usually, a woman discovers that she has HPV as a result of an abnormal Pap smear. 
The Pap test is a very important test for the detection of abnormal cells in the cervix caused by HPV. 
There is an HPV test for women, but it is only used in certain situations. Doctors may recommend HPV testing for women after a Pap test that detects abnormal cells or when the results of the Pap test are unclear. 
The HPV test is not recommended for all women because it is very common and usually goes away without causing health problems. 
For women over 30 years of age, a test for human papillomavirus can be done in conjunction with a preventive examination .
If both results are normal, a woman has a very low risk of developing cervical cancer. 
You do not have to repeat these exams in five years. 
Some women over the age of 30 choose to have a Pap smear every three years.

Other venereal diseases

Papilloma virus in man

The virus causes abnormal cell changes 
There are currently no HPV tests for men, but men can be rested because the human papilloma virus almost always goes away without causing problems.

What is the treatment for human papillomavirus?

There is currently no medical treatment for human papillomavirus infections. 
However, we can treat condylomas and warts due to HPV infections. 
The methods normally used to treat condyloma and warts are

  • Cryosurgery (freezing that destroys tissue),
  • LEEP (electrosurgical excision per loop),
  • Conization surgical procedures (surgery with a scalpel, laser or both to remove a piece of tissue from the cervix and cone-shaped cervical canal),
  • Laser vaporization (use of a laser to destroy cervical tissue).

Treatment for other types of precancerous lesions caused by HPV (vulvar, vaginal, anal and penile lesions) and genital warts can be done with chemicals or medications, surgical excision, cryosurgery, electrosurgery and laser surgery. 
The drugs used are retinoids, antivirals, immune system regulators and salicylic acid applied directly to the affected area. 
Doctors usually recommend applying some creams: Podofilox, Imiquimod (Aldara) and Sinecatechins (Veregen)

Individuals with human papilloma virus infection who develop cancer generally receive the same treatment from patients whose tumors are not caused by HPV infection, according to the type and stage of cancer. 
However, people diagnosed with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer may be treated differently from those with oropharyngeal cancers that are negative for human papillomavirus. 
Recent research has shown that patients with oropharyngeal and HPV-positive cancers have a better prognosis and may undergo less intense therapy

How can we prevent the spread of the human papilloma virus?

Vaccination against HPV can protect women against two types of HPV that cause 70% of cases of cervical cancer. 
Refrain from relationships involving skin-to-skin contact. 
If you choose to have vaginal or anal intercourse, use the condom. 
Condoms reduce the risk, but are not effective against HPV and other infections, such as chlamydia and HIV / AIDS.

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